Skip to comments.Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Fata Morgana: A Possibly Titanic Mirage
Posted on 04/15/2012 7:49:02 PM PDT by SunkenCiv
Explanation: Did this mirage help sink the Titanic? The optical phenomenon called Fata Morgana can make strange shapes or a false wall of water appear above a watery horizon. When conditions are right, light reflecting off of cold water will be bent by an unusual layer of warm air above to arrive at the observer from several different angles. A conceptually comparable mirage can make a setting Sun appear strangely distorted or a distant pavement appear wet. One hundred years ago today, such a Fata Morgana mirage might have obscured real icebergs from the clear view of crew onboard the Titanic. Additional evidence for this distortion hypothesis arises from the nearby vessel SS Californian which reported sightings consistent with Fata Morgana mirages. The above Fata Morgana mirage was taken off the US Pacific coast in 2008.
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[Credit & Copyright: Mila Zinkova]
This is a slightly different article on what I mentioned to you this morning regarding mirage and the RMS Titanic.
of possible interest ping?
Here is the mirage theory from the Smithsonian Magazine that I was talking about Sunday morning: New research may have found the reason why the ship struck an iceberg: light refraction By Tim Maltin
here are other articles on the mirage theory.
Since you're the one who posted an article a few months back that led to the creation of the Titanic ping list, it's only natural that we sound the bell for the rest of the crew.
I'll mention in passing that the Titanic: Mystery Solved special tonight on the History Channel was quite interesting. The bottom line is that the blame of shoddy workmanship or a poor design was dismissed. It concluded that the saving of 700 people was something of miracle considering the extent of damage she suffered. And, for you, DeoVindiceSicSemperTyrannis, there was a reference to the Mariner's Museum, a must visit for anyone traveling near Virgina's Tidewater region.
I used to observe this effect every late October in Rhode Island’s Narragansett Bay.
Bringing the boat around to it’s winter quarters, a trip on the Bay would fully distort the horizon. Distant bridges, not normally viewable, showed up on the horizon. Towers on land, were fully visible for the first time of the season.
Somehow there was a refraction of light, probably caused by the interaction of the colder air and warmer salt water.
Thanks. It makes sense to me.
Thank you. This study explains why the Titanic lookouts didn’t see the iceberg sooner, and why both ships didn’t see the other ship’s Morse Signal Lamp.
Yes, the Mariner’s Museum is a good place to visit. :-)